Extending the Discussion: Penn Jones, “The Continuing Inquiry” and the Uncomfortable Questions About the JFK Assassination

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here, part two here and part three here.

The quest to uncover the “truth” behind the Kennedy assassination (as understood by those who discount the official narrative outlined in the Warren Commission’s report, at least) has drawn legions of adherents almost since the day the fatal shots were fired in November 1963. This has become fodder for comedians and others who lampoon those who embrace a range of theories including the Mob Theory, the Cuban Theory and the Alien Theory. The upshot is that people who present genuinely compelling questions about the case are often lumped in with people who earnestly believe the Israeli government was behind the event.

For those who steadfastly resist toeing the Warren Commission line, there was a powerful voice whose publication presented alternative information about the assassination for more than seven years. From 1977 to 1984, Penn Jones – a World War II veteran and Texan and firebrand author – published “The Continuing Inquiry,” a newsletter dedicated to giving a voice to those whose beliefs about the Kennedy assassination were outside the mainstream.

Masthead of the August 22, 1984 edition of “The Continuing Inquiry”

As part of the digital collections derived from the Poage Legislative Library, the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections contains a run of “The Continuing Inquiry” from the March 22, 1977 issue to the August 22, 1984 issue. These full-text searchable items give startling insight into Jones’ obsession with proclaiming the “real story” behind 11/22/63. It includes illustrations, diagrams, photos and other illustrative techniques designed to refute and/or support the purported version of events being presented.

To learn more about Penn Jones’ life and “The Continuing Inquiry,” visit the Poage Library’s website. Access the Digital Collections’ copies of “The Continuing Inquiry,” visit our website.

We will conclude this series of posts on November 21 with a look at the John Armstrong Collection, our largest collection of Kennedy-related materials.

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